Hyde double as Watford revival stuns Blackburn

Rovers lose after leading by two goals at Ewood Park while Saha brace revives Cottagers
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The Independent Football

If resilience wins elevation to the Premiership, Watford showed that quality in abundance, coming back from what threatened to be a thrashing, to win in style at Ewood Park.

If resilience wins elevation to the Premiership, Watford showed that quality in abundance, coming back from what threatened to be a thrashing, to win in style at Ewood Park.

Overrun in the early stages, they were revived by the calm marksmanship of Micah Hyde, who inspired an unlikely turnaround in an extraordinary first-half.

It was Graham Souness' side that looked the sharper from the start and the breakthrough came after six minutes. Matt Jansen found the space on the right flank to cross with his left foot and David Dunn found even more room in the penalty area to rise unchallenged and score with a thumping header.

As Blackburn's whirlwind start continued, Dunn shot just past the upright and the ball finished up in the net when Jansen jumped with Espen Baardsen, only for the goal to be disallowed for a foul on the goalkeeper.

After 16 minutes, rampant Rovers scored again, Damien Duff this time putting in the cross from the right and Blake's original header coming back to him off the post. His follow-up shot finished in the roof of the net, despite a despairing lunge from Steve Palmer.

But within two minutes, and with their first attack, Watford got one back - although there was still little hint of what was to come. A long throw was nodded back to Micah Hyde on the edge of the area and his low shot squeezed past Alan Kelly.

There was a further worry for Rovers when Jansen was taken off on a stretcher. Things rapidly got worse for those left on the pitch as well.

Ten minutes before the interval Craig Short's indecision under a cross from Paul Robinson saw the ball ricochet between Tommy Smith and Heidar Helguson before finding the net and then, two minutes later, Hyde picked his spot, again sliding a right-footer beyond Kelly's grasp.

After that, the second 45 minutes struggled to match the hectic action of the first. Jansen's replacement, the former Arsenal striker, Kaba Diawara and Blake both went close with headers, but after the glut of the first half chances were suddenly difficult to come by, although Blackburn thought they should have had an opportunity from the penalty spot when Blake went down after a Palmer tackle.

Then, just as they had in the first half, Graham Taylor's men took control. It could hardly have been simpler, Mooney heading in Robinson's corner.

Baardsen had to save twice from Blake and once from Dunn in a hectic flurry before Blake netted his second with a neat chip four minutes from time.

There was more drama in a scramble that saw the ball deflected narrowly wide, but Watford hung on.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Kelly; Curtis, Short, Berg, Bjornebye; McAteer (Carsley 65), Flitcroft, Dunn, Duff; Jansen (Diawara, 22; Ostenstad 73), Blake. Substitutes not used: Johnson, Miller (gk).

Watford (4-4-2):Baardsen; Cox, Palmer, Ward, Robinson; Hyde, Nielsen, Mooney; Helguson (Gibbs, 81); Noel-Williams, Smith. Substitutes not used: Ngonge, Easton, Foley, Chamberlain (gk).

Referee: M Jones.

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